TORONTO — In the leadup to Sunday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney described in detail how Chris Wondolowski became the MLS goal king.
A poacher’s finish from in-close. Give him space or service at your peril.
The message apparently did not sink in to his team as the 36-year-old Wondolowski scored twice, upping his career goal tally to 150, in a 2-1 win over Toronto.
Vanney, who usually keeps his cool, was all but bristling afterwards as Toronto (5-6-2) saw its winless streak extended to five games (0-4-1).
“I think it’s B.S. … The dude can score 150 goals in our league (and) 120 of them are the same way. And we don’t have the presence in the situation to find that guy’s body and to know where he is,” he said with incredulity. “Like that just has to be better.”
Centre back Drew Moor and left back Ashtone Morgan were victimized on both goals. Morgan didn’t close down Cristian Espinoza to stop the cross both times while Moor was unable to close the distance on Wondolowski once he got the ball.
Moor was close on the first goal, in the 37th minute. He, Chris Mavinga and Liam Fraser were all watching on the second — in the 81st minute — as Wondolowski connected in their midst.
Toronto winger Richie Laryea opened the scoring in the 28th minute, sliding to knock a Marky Delgado feed high into the net with his left foot for his first MLS goal. The goal came off a throw-in with Jozy Altidore using his head to flick on the throw to Delgado before 23,524 at BMO Field.
It was Toronto’s first goal in 247 minutes.
It was the Quakes’ first win on the road this season (1-3-2). San Jose (5-6-2) has lost just once in its last seven games (4-1-2).
Wondolowski has six goals in two games. He scored all four goals in a record-breaking 4-1 win over Chicago last weekend as he surpassed Landon Donovan’s league record of 145 while upping his career total to 148.
On Sunday, he surpassed Donovan in the record book again — this time with his 42nd game-winning goal.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “Goal-scoring comes in bunches, whether good or bad, and right now they’re coming so I’m trying to take advantage of it. To be honest it was a great play by Cristian Espinoza, the way he was able to fly down that flank tonight. He sent in a few good balls and I was just happy to find myself on the end of a couple of them.”
He has 11 goals in 15 games against Toronto.
“He got some good service and found a couple of soft spots on us … That’s why he’s scored 967 goals,” Moor said facetiously. “He finds a way to put the ball in the back of the net and it’s got to be better from, for sure, myself and we’ve got to deny the service as well.”
Toronto has not won at home since April 19 (0-3-1) and is an unimpressive 3-3-2 at BMO Field this season. It has also given up at least two goals on nine occasions this season.
In addition to complaining about the defence, Vanney lamented his team’s inability to finish.
Toronto had its chances. Delgado was off-target in the 74th minute and in stoppage time. Substitute Terrence Boyd had a chance to tie it in stoppage time but he could not get a foot on a Delgado cross. Fraser then raked a cross across the penalty box.
“It’s frustrating because our performances aren’t so bad,” said Vanney. “Our execution in the final third on either side — if you want to take points — has got to be better. We’ve got to protect our goal better and we’ve got to put away chances that we have in front of their goal.”
Does the roster needed to be upgraded, he was asked.
“It’s part of it,” he answered.
While not one to rock the boat publicly, Vanney clearly is frustrated the team has not been able to get help on the wing and on defence.
Since taking 10 of a possible 12 points in its first four games of the season (3-0-1), Toronto has collected just seven of a possible 27 in the last nine (2-6-1).
One wonders if something has to give.
Toronto was missing some key parts Sunday with Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo suspended and captain Michael Bradley (hamstring) and fellow midfielder Jonathan Osorio (hip and groin) both injured. Bradley’s absence ended a string of 41 consecutive league starts.
It sounds like both could be questionable for Friday’s game in Vancouver.
Former Toronto striker Sebastian Giovinco was in attendance, drawing applause when shown on the video screen. The Italian left TFC prior to this season to play in Saudi Arabia.